News & Analysis

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    So what do we make of ManServants, the “Uber of hot dudes?”

    So ManServants. In case you’re not tapped into the tech Twitter outrage cycle, ManServants is a new service that will deliver a handsome man to do your every bidding — well, as long as it’s “PG-rated” the site’s cofounder tells Mashable. These aren’t strippers or escorts, she assures. They are perfect gentlemen that will wait on you hand-and-foot — no other appendages needed. The site’s notion of an ideal ManServant experience might involve, for example, a hot…
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  3. Polling Station

    More than a data play: SwagBucks acquires SodaHead polling platform to drive customer acquisition

    Data is the undisputed currency of the consumer Web. Whether it’s used to target ads or to personalize product recommendations every giant from Google to Facebook to Amazon relies on data to drive its user experience and fill its bank accounts. It’s little surprise then that Prodege, the parent company to the popular consumer rewards and commerce platform SwagBucks, is making a play to increase its access to data. The company is acquiring polling technology startup SodaHead, which…
  4. IT Network

    IT’s best friend: PagerDuty raises $27.2M Series B to help all companies manage infrastructure like Amazon

    Managing IT infrastructure, be it hardware or software, is no longer confined to just so-called technology companies. In today’s age, nearly every company in the world relies on technology to run its business. And with the rise of the cloud, virtualization, and mobile, these systems and software are more distributed, operate at greater scale, and change more frequently than ever before. The result is an increasingly complex task of managing and these systems. “When an ops team is fighting a…
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    Attackers have breached Tor’s system to reveal the identities of its users

    Tor, a network used by people to cloak their identities and Internet activities, published a blog post today stating that attackers had breached its system in an apparent attempt to de-anonymize users. The breach occurred between January 30 of this year and July 4, and Tor advises that anybody who used its “hidden services” during that time may have been “affected” — though it’s unsure exactly what “affected” means. It’s unlikely, a Tor blogger writes, that the attackers were able to view…
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    My Big Break: How Brian Lee cold-called Robert Shapiro and turned him into a co-founder

    Today we dig back into the Pando archives for another legal story. Last year, during his PandoMonthly interview, Brian Lee — co-founder of LegalZoom, ShoeDazzle, and The Honest Co. — told Sarah Lacy about the time he decided to cold-call star lawyer Robert Shapiro to ask if he’d be a spokesperson for the then-fledgling LegalZoom. Lee and his partners knew that asking Americans to trust a company they’d never heard of with their bank information, credit card information, mortgage information……

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    Indiegogo hits absurd low with campaign to find missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370

    In the wake of the now four-months-missing Malaysian Airlines flight 370, conspiracy theories have hit strange heights. Shakira and Pitbull were even alleged to hold a key to it all, when a few months back Internet alarmists found close parallels between the plane’s disappearance in early March and the lyrics of their 2012 duet ‘Get it Started.’ Now, if the general sense of “well if only someone were really trying to find out the truth” that fuels casual barstool pondering…
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    Nukes of Hazard

    “On January 25, 1995, at 9:28 A.M. Moscow time, an aide handed a briefcase to Boris Yeltsin… A small light near the handle was on, and inside was a screen displaying information indicating that a missile had been launched four minutes earlier from somewhere in the vicinity of the Norwegian Sea, and that it appeared to be headed toward Moscow. Below the screen was a row of buttons. This was the Russian “nuclear football…”  — The New Yorker
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    Keith Alexander and Pierre Omidyar have both realized that security sells

    Remember that old Bill Hicks routine about how both “sides” in the grand American political debate are actually puppets on each hand of the same puppeteer? Here’s a fun story that’ll remind you why Hicks is so dearly missed. Keith Alexander is the former (that is, recently retired) head of the National Security Agency. Earlier this week, Alexander was back in the news having apparently developed and patented “a new technology, based on a patented and ‘unique’ approach to detecting…
  12. Cash Only

    Startups Anonymous: My Startup Was Failing Because I Was Solving a Big Problem That No One Would Pay For

    Just because I had a great idea that could change the world doesn’t mean people will pay for it. This was the lesson I learned which I want to share. Two years ago, I quit my well-paying stable government job to build my startup – an idea that I believed could end online piracy. I trudged on for months – got great exposure and affirmation that it was a brilliant idea that could save music, books, and film from piracy.

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  14. Twitter Search

    SocialRank rolls out “graph search” for Twitter. Adds Uber, Juicy Couture, and Muhammad Ali as brand users

    When Facebook launched Graph Search, it was such a big deal that the company dedicated an entire live press event to the occasion. And yet, now 18 months later, the product has hardly lived up to the hype and is largely an afterthought for most users. Whether it’s a function of the size of the data set or Facebook’s concern over user privacy (seems unlikely), the company simply missed the mark on this one, badly. But that doesn’t mean the…
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    Breaking news in the social age is a mess. Can Grasswire help stop the spread of misinformation?

    From Reddit’s catastrophic witch hunt in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing to the deluge of fake images and reports during Hurricane Sandy, social media has turned every breaking news event into a playground of misinformation. Most recently, the downing of Malaysian Airlines MH17 prompted all manner of false reports, like that dozens of Americans had died, shared even by otherwise reputable journalists. Many individuals and organizations have tried to counter this trend, from “Is Twitter Wrong?” to
  16. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

    EXCLUSIVE: Payments giant First Data acquires Gyft in an effort to bring digital gift cards to the masses

    Gyft, a Redwood City-based virtual gift card provider has agreed to an acquisition by payment giant First Data, Pando has learned. The terms of the transaction were undisclosed, although early Gyft investor, Karlin Ventures managing director TX Zhuo calls it “a great outcome for everybody involved.” The transaction is expected to close next month. The two year old startup has raised a total of $6 million through its Series A round of funding with backers including Karlin, Google Ventures,A-Grade Investments,…
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  18. Unicorn

    Is this the next SaaS unicorn? Invoca grows 1200% in 3 years by solving Salesforce’s biggest blind spot

    Each year, billions of dollars are spent on cloud-based CRM and marketing automation solutions, all with the goal of optimizing the sales process. But despite all this technology (and spending) there is a glaring blind spot in the marketing clouds of the vast majority of organizations: calling. The best sales and marketing operations can track, through a series of retargeting ads, a single prospect from a digital ad impression to an online lead capture form and, ultimately, to a converted…
  19. Twitter RT Cards

    Is Twitter better? Or just not as bad as Wall St. feared?

    Twitter’s stock surged as much as 36 percent to $52.35 a share Tuesday after reporting sales that grew 124 percent, an unexpected net profit and – perhaps most importantly – a 25-percent increase in monthly active users. It is all welcome news for a company that has so far delivered much more on social and cultural impact than on financial performance. But it is also a reminder not to get too carried away by the short-term response of the stock…
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    An Unscientific Pando Poll: How libertarian is the tech industry, really?

    Over the past few weeks, Pando has been covering the rise of Libertarianism as a political force in Silicon Valley and the wider tech industry. In response to that coverage, we’ve heard from a lot of readers arguing that, despite being highly visible, Libertarians actually represent a very small percentage of the tech industry. Others meanwhile have said the opposite: That, whether we like it or not, Libertarians will soon be the dominant force in the industry. So…
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The Week in Review